Role of young lawyers in legal profession – Part 2
CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK
These are the legacies I want to leave behind”. Young lawyers bear the ultimate responsibility for their own career development. Learning the law is relatively straight forward but what are they doing to cultivate other skills and to excel in the profession? The greenhorns of today are said to be the leaders of tomorrow but how well are these future leaders equipping themselves?
This article will provide some practical steps a young lawyer can take to gain control of his career. They appear obvious and not very challenging. But, as Finnish philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein remarked, “The aspect of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity”
Figure out the area of law you want to practice
Discovering your niche is a viable key as it puts you on the vantage position to rising faster but only an actual fellowship with the right people can make this a reality. Do not just be a qualified lawyer amongst the several called to Bar yearly, stand out, carve a niche for yourself, and dare to dream big. Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning you start dying”. Like every profession, if you are good at what you do, wealth, riches, honor and fame will attend to you. It is trite knowledge that law is very vast and the profession evolves daily so it is important for a young attorney to figure out early enough the area of practice he excels in. Finding that area of law that is best will not only give a sense of satisfaction but will also help to maximize performance. So, instead of rushing through each experience take the time to reflect on the area of law that will position you in the right place to practice the profession.
Find a mentor
The challenges of the Legal Profession are enormous. Some have argued that they are too many for the Nigerian Bar Association to resolve solely. The NBA, the umbrella body of the profession, under her eminent past and present leadership(s) has been largely resourceful in the area of emphasizing on mentorship but there is an imminent necessity for more lawyers to be proactive in bridging the overwhelming need to unscrew the wealth of potentials in the large number of un-mentored learned minds today. Like every assemblage of men, leadership is fundamental and particularly good mentorship of the younger learned minds, by the older experienced veterans is a golden key to being the lawyer of your dreams. There’s no downplaying the importance of mentorship on the road to a successful career in the legal profession and in many developed jurisdictions, legal practice thrives on mentorship. It is potentially valuable to young attorneys transitioning from school to practice. From the foregoing, the question is whether senior individuals in the profession will have time for the youngsters. Yes, people are busy, but experience has been that they generally still want to help, as long as you display interest, and also mindful of your time. Seek out those whose careers you admire and once you find a mentor; be sure to devote your own energies to ensuring the continued success of the relationship.
The key to a meaningful professional relationship is networking. It is very vital to develop a meaningful relationship with other learned colleagues and this is where the concept of emotional intelligence fits in because it helps to understand the role emotions and interpersonal relationship play in otherwise logical activities. The ability to engage people when networking requires significant emotional intelligence.
When lawyers network, it is a platform for them to discuss the legal issues around them
and also proffer solution by sharing their ideas and opinions.
Work for free: Internship
This may sound a bit odd but it is a good way to go. Getting a job with a law firm that fits into the type of law practice you admire may be difficult and also because most young attorneys are also all about the money they tend to shove their passion for the profession. Find your pause button and ponder on this question. How would you like to build your career so dramatically over the cause of next year that you become friends with some of the most successful lawyers around you? Charlie Hohen worked for free when he graduated into the 2008 recession and this led him to countless job offers, freelance work, new friendships and writing his own book. Also, it is a platform to learn and get a lot of experience which is an integral part of the profession. Whilst you are thinking if this is achievable, just shift your thoughts to the fact that the EXPERIENCE and REFERENCE you’ll get afterwards can turn your career around.
Position yourself strategically
What are the current legal issues happening around you? Do they bother you? Getting involved in the legal issues happening around you goes a long way in helping you thrive in your legal career. You cannot build a reputation for excellence by being passive. Be actively involved in everything around you. Another way to go about this is to always talk about yourself even when you’re with your family because it is easy for them forget the young attorney at home because he is a ‘greenhorn’ and they have no idea what he can do.
It is very important to practice law with uncompromised ethical standards as this will serve you best for the long haul. Strive for excellence in the work product you produce. Also, treat your clients, adversaries, peers and subordinates with utmost respect- you will find over the course of your career that your reputation usually precedes you. The practice of law is your career so Approach it with dedication and enthusiasm
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Kola-Ojo is versatile attorney and believes strongly in the words of Albert Einstein……. “Once you stop learning, you start dying”……… There is no impossibility with knowledge.
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